American Motorcyclist August 2018

AMA Member Lyon Payne Expands Oregon Trails

Volunteer Creates New Opportunities To Ride

By Meylan Thoresen

With more than 250 miles of available trails, the Oregon Tillamook State Forest is fast becoming one of the preeminent off-road riding areas in the country.

Most of these trails have been developed by the fantastic staff of the Oregon Department of Forestry, spearheaded by Jahmaal Rebb and Reid Brown. But their efforts would not have been possible without the contributions of AMA member Lyon Payne of Hillsboro, Ore. Payne has been riding dirt bikes in the Tillamook area since 1970 and has been a steward of his beloved trails.

It’s only recently, though, that his love has bloomed to full obsession after being mentored by retired ODF staff member Dave Hyatt. Payne, a 67-year-old retired metal fabricator, has almost single-handedly developed 26 miles of trail.

Armed with a chainsaw and grub hoe and mounted on his trusty 1991 KDX he calls “Kermit,” Payne works his way through the dense slash left by commercial logging operations digging his black and double-black diamond trails into the steep terrain.

Lyon’s trails are designed to be sustainable and ridden in either direction, but still very technical.

In the seven years since Payne retired from his career, he has averaged more than 650 hours a year working on trails such as The Angry Elf (named after him, he says), Purple Bug Stump, Dwayne’s Trail and the Payne Trail, just to name a few of the more infamous.

Along with developing new trails approved by the ODF, he spends many hours working on rerouting and repairing existing trails.

Payne is a positive and infectious leader, creating an environment that is fun and productive. He also strives to spread values that will protect our freedom to ride, highlighting the need to train riders to ride responsibly, such as not just holding the throttle open when you get stuck, using common sense, lifting the back out to find some traction and applying a slow, steady throttle hand.

Not everyone can be as dedicated as Payne, but each of us can contribute something toward the greater good. It’s great to ride a trail you helped create.

Meylan Thoresen is an AMA member from Portland, Ore.